In Support of Tech Whistleblowers Who are Holding Tech to Account
Digital technology today is more widespread, more convenient, and more ubiquitous than ever before. With a strong Silicon Valley heritage, Omidyar Network recognizes that the promise and the ethos of technology has always been about it being a distributed good, empowering and connecting people all over the world. But as most people have experienced first-hand, today’s tech ecosystem is out of balance.
While technology pervades nearly every aspect of our lives, it remains largely unregulated with little oversight. A handful of tech giants wield tremendous, unchecked power, and has chosen repeatedly — in contravention of the original ideals of the tech community — profit over consumer, social, and market health. This outsized market dominance, social, and political power has the potential to threaten our individual freedoms, economies, and democracies.
With little competition, regulation, or other countervailing checks and balances, Big Tech has too much influence. Until recently, these platforms largely avoided meaningful public oversight which has allowed them to do as they wish, often at the expense of consumers, start-ups, and their employees.
Even as Big Tech’s reach has extended further and faster, it has remained largely opaque. We have had a nagging feeling that the harms they cause are known to them — and are far worse than the public could imagine. That has been validated as truth by a series of courageous whistleblowers who have spoken out and delivered evidence of wrongdoing and misconduct. We stand by them as they have put everything on the line to hold these tech giants to account.
For those who are considering blowing the whistle, we know that it is a difficult, and often dangerous and expensive decision. That’s why we supported tech leader and whistleblower, Ifeoma Ozoma, and her many partners in creating The Tech Worker Handbook, a collection of resources for people “who are looking to make more informed decisions about whether to speak out on issues that are in the public interest.”
We are grateful to the brave people who have called out Big Tech for its bad behavior. They are an important part of creating systemic checks and balances for Big Tech. Because of them, policymakers are taking notice and taking action to rein in their excessive power and restore trust and balance in digital markets.